Poland’s former heads of state call for boycott of elections

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Poland's former heads of state call for boycott of elections


The governing party PiS absolutely wants Poland to elect a new president in a week and a half. Despite the corona pandemic. Now there is resistance from former top government officials.



© picture-alliance / NurPhoto / B. Zawrzel
This is what the postal voting form could look like – if the presidential election ever takes place in Poland


In an open letter, several former Polish heads of state and government said they would not take part in the vote scheduled for May 10. They also called on citizens to boycott.

The vote, which the national-conservative PiS government wants to hold as a pure postal vote because of the coronavirus epidemic, is a “pseudo-election”, according to the joint letter published by ex-Prime Minister Leszek Miller on Twitter. It was signed by the former presidents Lech Walesa, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Bronislaw Komorowski as well as by six former heads of government, who come from different political camps.

The Opposition in Poland demands because of the corona epidemic and the constraints of public life a postponement of choice. The PiS is against it. According to the latest polls, her candidate, incumbent Andrzej Duda, can count on more than 50 percent of the vote and win in the first ballot. One of the reasons is that the opposition cannot conduct an election campaign due to the ban on the assembly, which benefits the incumbent – who is regularly present in the media with speeches on the fight against the corona virus.

Short-term change of the right to vote

The PiS wants to save the election date by holding the vote exclusively by post. However, a necessary change in the right to vote will probably only be available to Parliament for final vote on May 6 – four days before the election. There are also doubts as to whether the Polish Post can handle the logistical task of delivering more than 30 million election documents on time.


In protective gear: The mayor election could take place in the city of Aleksandrow Kujawsk on Sunday in the polling station


© picture-alliance / PAP / T. Zmijewski
In protective gear: The mayor election could take place in the city of Aleksandrow Kujawsk on Sunday in the polling station


In their letter, the former heads of state and government criticize that this election is unconstitutional. It will be neither general nor the same. There is no guarantee that all voters will receive their electoral records and that the secrecy will be guaranteed. An election in times of the corona epidemic also posed a threat to the health and life of citizens. “We will therefore not participate. And we hope that all candidates and voters will behave similarly if they share our concern about a democratic future for Poland.”

The former leaders suggested that the government declare a state of emergency over the spread of COVID-19. According to the constitution, this would mean a postponement of the election date by several months.

Before had former EU Council President and former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk appeals to his compatriots not to vote. Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, the presidential candidate of the largest Polish opposition alliance, had also announced that she would withdraw her candidacy if the election was to be held by post on May 10 or another date.

ust / kle (dpa, afp)



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